A recent study sheds some interesting light on a growing gap in the workforce — 43 percent of women in early-career positions are optimistic about their futures, while only 27 percent of women in leadership roles have a similarly positive outlook. As time moves on, why are so many women becoming increasing less satisfied with their jobs?
Some feel they are underemployed, meaning they are in positions where their education and experience are underutilized. Others reported feeling less motivated because their male counterparts have higher salaries. Many women said they don’t see a path for leadership opportunities at their current employer. Which one of these describes your current situation?
If you are feeling stuck in your career, there is a way out. It won’t look the same for every woman, but it will take the same three survival skills— courage, commitment, and faith. Here are a few other tips to help you decide what to do when you are ready to make the leap.
#1 Assess Your Values: What do you want out of a career? What is important to you as a professional? Understanding the answers to these questions can help point you in the direction of a career path that will provide meaning and substance. You might want to apply your expertise to a nonprofit that supports people or populations in need or a company that provides environmentally-friendly products and services. A really helpful way to define your values is to think of what you’d be doing if compensation wasn’t an issue.
#2 Know How to Grow: Do a little research on job titles you’d like to hold and companies you’d like to work for. Take that a step further by examining gaps in your resume as it compares to those job descriptions. You might find you can close those gaps by earning a certificate online, taking a course or asking your current employer for a different kind of project. There are a lot of online programs where you can take self-paced, interactive courses to earn licenses and certificates that improve your professional appeal.
#3 Start Your Own Business: Turning your passion into a vocation is a powerful way to set your career on a course for meaning, purpose and satisfaction. For those interested in sales and marketing, becoming a consultant can be a fruitful way to share your knowledge and skills with others. You can also put those skills to work in a new business venture with low start-up and overhead costs, such as through dropshipping and e-commerce. In this model you sell a unique product that you purchase and ship from a third party whenever a sale is made. That way you don’t have to keep in-house inventory and can provide quick, high-quality customer service from your own website that's easy to navigate and mobile friendly.
#4 Reputation Management: When you decide to make a career change or start your own business, it’s important to consider an online reputation management plan. Why? Leaders and small business start-ups cannot afford to lose opportunities and trust because of a hate website, fraud posts or scam emails. And those led by women face higher risks of cyber abuse— an 11-year study found that 72 percent of the victims of online harassment cases were women. If you’ve been the victim of this kind of cyber attack, partner with a legal professional or an online analysis investigation team before you begin applying for new jobs or branching out on your own. A professional can help you start the legal process needed to enforce the removal of the content, so it’s gone long before a new boss or client comes across it.